One of my biggest blessings was meeting the family of Sgt. First Class Riley Stephens, the 2000th soldier to die…
We met Riley’s family, and friends, in the tiny town of Tolar…southwest of Ft. Worth… for my first Starting Over report for Channel 8. I still keep in touch with Riley’s family and I talked to his Dad, Mick, just the other day.
Mick, what is your family especially thankful for this Thanksgiving?
I’m thankful for family. No way I could have gone through this if it wasn’t for them. I know I’m not the same person. First and foremost is JoAnn, she is my angel. She has never wavered. Been by my side. Gives me strength plus that nudge, sometimes a little more then a nudge. Don’t want to mess with her. Lol. She’s there telling me let it go Mick. She holds my hand in silence.
Then there’s my son Ken, Standing by my side. Also understanding . Understanding loneliness. Telling me it’s ok, Dad . Its not worth a #%*# but its ok. Tear in his eyes not for himself but for his old man. My grandkids, my daughter-in law. I am blessed.
Family . I am thankful for those known as the family. Family they are. They are there for us. Stopping by. Just to make sure we are ok. Staying if needed. Help with anything or just to give a hug and a smile. Tell us they were thinking about us. Give a hug and be gone. I can go on and on. There are so many. Our Military family. They are unbelievable. North Carolina Family. Riley was a good judge of character. They are awesome. So I’m thinking it’s family. We are truly Blessed.
Is there a particular thing that comes to mind when you think about Riley on this Thanksgiving?
One of Riley’s favorite sayings. He would look at me say “Dad, it’s all about Family, that is why we do what we do”.
He was so right. I am Blessed.
Mick Stephens, from the town and area around it. Tolar Texas.
Can’t say Tolar unless ya say Tolar Texas . Just goes together.
You have a awesome Thanksgiving Jane.
You too, Mick.
If you know, or just see a veteran today, please tip your hat, offer a smile or a handshake, and say thank you.
And if you know a family who has paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our nation free, well, tell them thank you too.
Click here to watch Starting Over, A Fallen Soldier Part 1.
In A Fallen Soldier Part 2 Mick Stephens reads the letter that Riley wrote but hoped his Dad would never have to open.
Thanks for the story Jane.
Here is a little inspiration for this greiving family.
Before Navy Seal Dave could throw a white phosphorus hand grenade into the crowded underbrush on the Mekong river in Vietnam, the grenade was shot out of his hand and exploded just inches from his head. Amazingly, Dave lived through the injury and thirteen major operations, which kept him hospitalized for fourteen months.
Dave tells everyone that Brenda his wife is his hero. Other women rejected their husbands upon seeing them in the hospital, but Brenda kissed Dave’s scarred face and said, “I want you to know that I love you. Welcome home, Davey.” This was the beginning of Dave’s recovery and Brenda’s journey of faith.
Brenda Roever’s (Ree-ver) faith has been and is, one of her major strengths. It has served her entire family as she led Dave on the road to recovery from the devastating wounds of war. Brenda’s courage and determination never to give up in the face of extreme emotional, psychological, and physical conditions faced by their family during the days of Dave’s recovery is a timeless record of overcoming for anyone who needs encouragement.